Foot-and-mouth disease now confirmed in South Africa

Health /04 December 2019, 11:34am / Lebona Lekoena

  Cattle had to be killed in order to prevent foot and mouth disease to spread: Image supplied

Bloemfontein: Animal farmers around the country have been warned following reports about the foot and mouth diseases in Limpopo where tons of cattle had to be killed in order to prevent the disease to spread.

According to the latest report on the outbreak issued by the Directorate of Animal Health at the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) cases have now been confirmed in 10 locations in Limpopo.

“The affected properties include commercial cattle farms, a community farm, feedlots and associated abattoirs,” the report said.

Authorities have cautioned companies with branches in limpopo to note the pendemic which still need to be contained to prevent it from spreading to other provinces.

The Insider have researched on the pendemic disease; Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) or hoof-and-mouth disease (HMD) is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, including domestic and wild bovids. 

This virus causes a high fever for between two and six days, followed by blisters inside the mouth and on the feet that may rupture and cause lameness.

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has very severe implications for animal farming, since it is highly infectious and can be spread by infected animals comparatively easily through contact with contaminated farming equipment, vehicles, clothing, feed, and by domestic and wild predators. 

It’s containment demands considerable efforts in vaccination, strict monitoring, trade restrictions,  quarantines and the culling of both infected and healthy (non-infected) animals.

Susceptible animals include cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, pigs, antelope, deer,and bison. It has also been known to infect hedgehogs and elephants; llamas  and alpacas may develop mild symptoms, but are resistant to the disease and do not pass it on to others of the same species. 

In laboratory experiments,  mice, rats, and chickens have been artificially infected, but they are not believed to contract the disease under natural conditions.

Humans do not develop the virus responsible for foot-and-mouth disease. However, humans, particularly young children, can develop an unrelated virus, Hand, foot, and mouth disease, which also affects cattle, sheep, and swine. The two diseases are often confused.

The virus responsible for foot-and-mouth disease is a picornavirus, Foot-and-mouth disease virus. Infection occurs when the virus particle is taken into a cell of the host. The cell is then forced to manufacture thousands of copies of the virus, and eventually bursts, releasing the new particles in the blood. The virus is genetically highly variable, which limits the effectiveness of vaccination.

Those having animals and those suspecting it they, are advised to notify provincial department of Agriculture.


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